Accelerating your IoT Journey on AWS

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2019 is the year to launch your IoT solution! If you have been thinking about launching your IoT project, but haven’t got it off the ground yet, our How to Accelerate Your IoT Journey webinar shares tips on how to approach IoT projects holistically and get them off the ground in weeks, not months or years. In this webinar, AWS Solutions Architect, Jonathan Shapiro-Ward, and Onica’s Vice President of Solutions Development, Eric Miller, explore how to design, deploy, and manage your IoT solution at scale and share how AWS IoT services can help accelerate your IoT success.

How to Accelerate Your IoT Journey Webinar Overview

The Internet of Things (IoT) stirs up a lot of conversation around technology in terms of its use cases and how to create new revenue streams. IoT is being used in both households and the workplace, we can see elements of this in the Amazon ecosystem with services like Amazon Alexa. IoT allows us to obtain information to make better decisions and improve overall efficiency with resource usage. 

Solving Your Customers’ Problems with IoT 

A critical thing to note is that nobody just buys IoT technology. Most of the time, the device a business needs may not exist since there are too many permutations when seeking a specific business outcome. Some ideas to start thinking about are how to optimize the decision making process. 

First, it is important to identify your customers and stakeholders to determine how to potentially use IoT to solve their problems. IoT solutions can be complex since they include a physical element, which is typically not present in the current landscape of virtual technology. There is an element of hybrid connectivity with the physical aspects of IoT that connects devices and sensors through a pipeline to the decision making process that facilitates the data. In this aspect, there are a lot of moving parts which help enable customers to see strong outcomes allowing for them to build, improve, and innovate. 

So, how can we make this process faster for our customers? At Onica, the solution is a prototyping board which is used to help customers get to their desired state faster. Accelerating development while reducing costs, our IoT accelerators offers hardware, software, and customized services for your business. All of our IoT accelerators utilize AWS IoT services to help businesses leverage the cloud in the most efficient way possible. 

AWS IoT Services

AWS IoT provides device software and services that enable you to gather extensive data, so you can build IoT solutions for virtually any use case. With the following services, you can control and manage your devices, helping you extract the most value from your IoT data. 

AWS IoT Core is a managed service that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices. It handles all of the IoT data and makes it effective and usable. It essentially acts as the message broker, connecting devices to HTTP, or websocket or MQTT, a myriad of protocols, and routing messages from them to other AWS services. With AWS IoT Core, you can have a device registry and understand exactly where all your devices are, how they are being used, and leverage it as the basis for a security model to secure these devices. Onica uses AWS IoT Core as a cloud-based IoT gateway solution.

AWS IoT Analytics is a service that processes, enriches, stores, analyzes, and visualizes IoT data for manufacturers and enterprises. While AWS IoT Core can handle billions of devices and messages, AWS IoT Analytics is what operates at that scale to process the repository of data. In addition, it allows insight to be obtained and meaningful business decisions to be made rapidly within a bounded timeframe. 

AWS IoT Greengrass is a low-powered, low-cost service that is built to allow you to deploy on your local edge devices. You can send messages from AWS IoT Greengrass devices to AWS for processing. AWS IoT Greengrass devices can act locally on the data they generate so they can respond quickly to local events, while still using the cloud for management, analytics, and durable storage. It lets connected devices operate even with intermittent connectivity to the cloud. AWS IoT Greengrass authenticates and encrypts device data for both local and cloud communications so that data is never exchanged between devices and the cloud without proven identity. 

Amazon FreeRTOS is an open source microcontroller operating system that makes small low-power edge devices easy to program and manage. Its software libraries make it easy to securely connect small low-power devices to AWS cloud services like AWS IoT Core or AWS IoT Greengrass so you can easily collect data for IoT applications.

AWS IoT Events enables you to monitor devices and equipment for any changes in operations and tracks IoT sensor data from devices and AWS services. AWS IoT Events notifies you from multiple sensors on remote devices and can diagnose the exact problem, helping lower your overall maintenance costs. 

With these services in mind, it’s important to note that data is the currency of a successful IoT solution. It’s what comes in, what goes out, and what monetizes and creates new revenue streams. So what do IoT solutions look like for customers when they’re built on AWS?

IoT Solutions

While nobody buys IoT, the underlying reason why they get into IoT is data. It’s a bit more of a journey than most companies realize to take a device or an idea or a product or a service and get it to a point where it is fully connected end-to-end. Here are five subject matter domains that customers need to be successful in to really knock their IoT projects out of the park. 

1. Devices & Sensors 

Devices and Sensors are critical firmware supported that connect securely to the cloud using technologies such as MQTT and certification authentication with IoT Core on AWS.  Most product and services companies don’t have an IoT competency inside their business, so they are almost never going to find the perfect device off-the-shelf to solve their problems. For that reason, a business needs to commit itself to developing a bespoke solution on the sensor side. At Onica, we’re able to take what we have learned in the development environment and put together a first class purpose-built circuit board that has the components a customer needs to deliver the functionality they’re trying to achieve.

2. Connectivity & Infrastructure 

Connectivity and infrastructure are also essential since every single connected device needs some type of connectivity, whether that’s BTLE or Wi-Fi, etc. Therefore, there needs to be consideration about what to do with the data once it is transferred into the cloud. That could include the need to train a machine learning model to produce analytics and insights off that data. Here at Onica, we write custom firmware that can intelligently switch between the different connectivity types that are available, depending on use case, signal strength, and favoring lower cost over higher cost when available.

3. Applications 

Applications are used when the data is in the cloud and will need a third party API integration, web applications, portals, dashboards, and/or mobile applications to sit on top of that data and expose it in a useful way to the customers and users. The web application or dashboard should be put on top of the API gateway to provide visualization and ways to utilize the data by the user’s mobile applications. These are things that can greatly increase the complexity and the amount of effort required to build an end-to-end IoT solution.

4. Analytics & Insights

Data analytics are useful since IoT applications generate a lot of data–otherwise known as data currency. It’s important to store as much data as you can using inexpensive, object-based storage similar to Amazon S3, data lakes for IoT, etc. if you want to automate your ETL process and your analysis pipelines. This is functionality that’s baked first class into AWS’ analytics pipeline and AWS IoT Core. By doing so, you can avoid schema lock in and utilize machine learning to allow insights to be obtained.

5. Change Management

The Human Element of an IoT project plays a critical role in change management. An example of an interesting problem is one Onica solved for a chemical dispensing company. This company has hundreds of different customers all over a metropolitan area with dozens of different types of chemicals being delivered to each one. The frequency of its deliveries would need to be optimized through the use of machine learning in order to map the shortest possible delivery routes. By filling its sensors with the IoT Cloud platfrom, it can monitor the fill level of the tanks and report them to the cloud. After building a human readable application or a map on a mobile application, a driver can then log in and see their route for the day to efficiently fill the empty tanks.

Leveraging IoT Partners for Success

An IoT partner can take all five of these components that customers need and wrap them up with professional services. In many cases, a partner will support businesses as needed and apply its services more heavily in areas that need more expertise. When it comes to IoT and the infrastructure behind IoT in the big data space, serverless space, and in other areas, you can depend on IoT partners who have handled a vast magnitude of customers, ranging from different scenarios and challenges. At Onica, we leverage our years of experience, breadth of customer solutions, and AWS expertise to help solve our customer’s toughest business challenges.

For more information on how to accelerate your IoT journey on AWS, watch our webinar to see how Onica is helping customers find business success with IoT. Ready to get started with your IoT project? Get in touch with us today! 

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